23 June 2010

An Interview with Ruth Hazlett Faulkner

compiled by Teresa Martin Klaiber

Ruth Hazlett Faulkner's obituary appeared in the Daily Independent, Ashland, Kentucky, Monday, June 21, 2010. I have mentioned a comment she made concerning Memorial Day in past blogs but never mentioned her by name. As I read her obituary my mind went back to the interview I did at her home in January 2006.

When interviewing anyone for genealogical purposes I always carry a tiny tape recorder and usually transcribe the material when I get home. Checking Family Lineage Investigations files, I found the tape and the transcription.

Ruth was 95 years old when I visited with her at her home on Edgewood in Ashland, Kentucky. While there she gave me several grainy copies of old photographs in her possession.

Ruth grew up on Clay Jack, Boyd County and the picture is of the old Hazlett home that is no longer standing. William R. and Elizabeth Hazlett are in the buggy in the picture.

Ruth had invited me to her home because she wished to talk about the Robert Hazlett Cemetery, also known as Hazel Dale Cemetery on Clay Jack. Ruth thought it would be nice to plant some Walnut trees in the cemetery but was no longer able to visit herself. She provided me with a handwritten list of people she remembered buried in the family cemetery which I later compared with with Boyd County Cemetery Database.

Ruth, one of six children, remembered her brother Wilbur Hazlett born 7 July 1916 when she was only 5 years old. Wilbur died 11 January 1917 and was buried in the cemetery. Talking about her mother and the twins Ruth said "...twins with red hair and she felt like the good Lord was punishing her because she didn't like red hair and she had two boys with red hair. One of them died at six months old with chicken pox."

Ruth reminisced about going to school. "...[Hazel Dale School]... you turn up Clay Jack Road it is land right where you turn. It [is] like an acre or something. ...one of the Hazlett's donated the land for the cemetery and the other donated the land for the school....May Fannin Lockwood she sold it...."

While we talked Ruth's memory would jump around. But during our conversation continued to mention Hazel Dale School. She talked about it being a one room school and when asked about her first teacher she believed it was Junior Fields then Clyde Bolt. " [The boys] were all mean...The girls sat on one side and the boys on the other. We didn't play together."

"And I remember a neighbor lady came and she had her little boy about my age and mom said, she was visiting with the neighbor ...she said take Howse [Harris] out to play...I got up and whispered to mother But he is a boy. She said well that is alright he is used to playing with his sisters you can play with him it will be alright. So I said come on Howse and I took him out in the sand pile and I built a sand castle, built a farm and had people, cattle and had a fence around it. ...I told dad I got everything and I have a garden laid out but I don't have any seeds. Dad said he would give me seeds to put in my garden so he got me some beans..."

She attended high school with Martha Klaiber. The school was at Cannonsburg and both she and Martha stayed with the Eastham family, coming home on Friday for the weekend. It was to far to go to school otherwise.

When she was older Ruth attended Morehead for less than a year and qualified as a teacher but there were more teachers than schools in Boyd County and she did not like being a substitute so begged her parents to go back to school. Ruth then attended Eastern to study business. During WWII she worked at Willow Run near Yipsalaniti and Detroit, Michigan. She helped build radios for B-52's matching up the wiring.

"My family was Baptist. But it kinda fell by the wayside. The Baptist ...my dad...had a little bit of education for an old timer. They got in the church, you know, as leaders, and were not qualified, and he just could not take it so he didn't go anymore...Mt. Olivet. So we didn't go anywhere for a long time and then when I got up in high school and got to know the Hogan's...lived down by the church...So I started going to the Methodist Sunday School and dad's first cousin, a McGlothlin...was the Sunday school teacher...Dova Hazlett married a McGlothlin." [Married John Chapman McGlothlin - tk note.]

"Then Trudi Hazlett married Ed Chaffins." I asked her if she was a short lady. "Yes a little dwarf. They had two. They had one that was smaller than Trudi that never married. She died rather young."

Ruth mentioned several times that the girls all wore ribbons in their hair. She showed a picture of the Hazlett reunion on Bear Creek at the L. C. [Tobe] Hazlett farm. The picture included the house in the background which Ruth informed me later burned down. As she remembered the reunion she described the afternoon. "...they killed a fatted calf and cooked all kinds of chicken...they put tables along that fence line...They come in there and cooked. And maybe some of them brought them with them...They killed a beef and anyway I just remember having a lot to eat and having my picture made. And Oh they had ice cream that the boys, the young people, made after we all ate...the boys turned, mostly the crank and made the ice cream. They had a great big ice cream maker...we never did have one...."

The ice cream triggered another memory with Ruth because they did not have the ice cream machine. "...we had such cold, cold winters and we had a lot of rocks on the property. Caves. And the water that was flowing over these would form big icicles so it might be a warm day in March or February and we would take, the kids would take a bucket, a big tub and go up on the hill and get the ice. While we was gone mother would be mixing up the ice cream and we would come down and the way we would do it. She put the ice cream in a gallon syrup bucket then we would put that ice all around it in a bigger container and would just, took that bucket with a bail and went around and around and around and around. And dad said he didn't like it, it was to cold. We all loved it. And Mom was right there with us."

When speaking of her parents Ruth became very lively. "She [her mother] was eight years younger than dad and a little more lively. Dad was anemic part of the time and he just had some problems. Like he just didn't have the energy. But he always had help on the farm...he had a rent house and he kept, I'll tell you what he did. A family man, he give him a dollar a day, free rent, a gallon of milk a day, a garden spot, I forget what else... we had a cellar, a nice cellar and all that concrete from the kitchen door into that cellar and it had shelves in there to keep canned goods. It had a pump right outside that went through and had like a trough built [of] concrete and cold water ran through there. Mom put milk and butter and she could even put set jello in there. It was cold water flowing through there. ...we had another we called the smoke house. Great big, it was originally a old school house. Mother and dad bought it for $100.00 and had it moved. It was the original school house...Hazel Dale. And they built another new school at Hazel Dale...and momma had a cook stove in it [smoke house] and when she was going to can instead of heating up the house she cooked out there in the smoke house...she did her canning out there. ... I guess looking back my family was pretty much up to date. We had a cream separator."

I asked her how many cattle her father ran. "Oh I don't know he sold off every year and that was cash. And he never did raise tobacco for sale. He raised a little for his own use and at one time he raised sheep but the dogs made it very difficult. They killed the sheep."

Asked how many acres the family owned she stated: "360. He bought the extra that was momma's old home. It joined after, I don't know, after I was pretty grown up. I guess. And we had a dairy farm and sold milk. So I milked my way through high school...the worst time was Sunday evening to go milk...you had to get your good clothes off and the day was over {laughing}. You couldn't be dressed up and cleaned up to milk cows... I remember momma sold butter. And she had her own bank account. Maybe a sugar bowl account or something. When she got married her daddy gave her a cow and ten hens and one rooster and that was it I guess. So she claimed that when a cow would have a calf that was hers...."

Ruth remembered the first car the family had. "Boggs the blacksmith came and took my older brother out every day for a week and taught him how to drive. So my dad said he would learn how to drive later. ...He just didn't jump right into anything. He had to think about it awhile. He could figure it all out ahead of time and then done better than he could johnny on the spot. Anyway I remember my brother took us and the family different places. Like homecoming at church and one time we went home with a couple. Mom said we was related, some kind of cousins. We went home to eat and my brother was about 15 or 16. He was driving us and had on a suit of clothes but the knickers were like here and then big fancy socks up here and a cap. The girls were quite a bit older and lived at this house and said you are to old to be dressed like that you need some long pants, you are a man now. So he wouldn't wear those clothes anymore. We came home and he said he had to have new clothes. And I guess they ordered them from Sears Roebuck."

I asked her if her father ever learned to drive. "Yes he was sorta forced. And my older sister was that way...didn't want to drive. She put it off for a long time ...I couldn't wait to drive. I was always wanting dad to let me. He let me drive when I was ten or eleven years old with him sitting beside me. You didn't have to have any [license] and then later my older sister was teaching. She went away to school when she was 14 and by 18 she was teaching. So you had to live away from home. And my job when I was think I was 15 when I got home from high school every Friday I had to go get my sister and bring her home for the weekend. That was my job. Everybody else was busy. You know farm work. You never get it done."

The complete interview will remain in my office files and eventually will be donated to the library along with the rest of my collection. I enjoyed my visit with Ruth very much and appreciate her sharing memories with me. Ruth was buried yesterday [June 22, 2010] in Rose Hill Cemetery, Ashland, Kentucky. Her obituary stated that she worked for Ashland Asphalt and Paving for many years. At the time of her death she was a member of the First Presbyterian church in Ashland.


  1. Dear Teresa Martin Klaiber,

    Li that matter ems blog and I wonder if this lady is Ruth Hazlett relative of a Presbyterian minister named Rev. Dillwyn McFadden Hazlett (1852-1931). He lived with his wife Jennie in Saint Louis, Illinois. Mrs. Ruth House is pastor of kin, would like you to contact me. I am looking for any descendants of this pastor. I am writing in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. My email is nelsondepaula@iprj.org.br I will be very happy to receive any response from you. Sincerely.

    Nelson de Paula

  2. Hello Ms. Klaiber,
    Thank you so much for posting this. My great aunt found this and sent it to me. Ruth was her aunt (also the aunt of my maternal grandfather). I never met Ruth nor have I been to Ashland. I would really love to go see where my family came from. This interview taught me more about them than I ever knew. My grandfather never opened up about his family history. I know my mother will appreciate reading this too (she is still a Hazlett).
    Jena Smith :)